Egypt’s military rulers have apparently withdrawn a plan for extending their influence over the writing of a new constitution, the New York Times reported Friday.
In this decision, the Higher Military Council members likely gave in to criticism just days after the proposal was unveiled, claiming that they are failing to accept the people's will and respect the democratic process.
Newly elected parliament members, dominated by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, will now be tasked with selecting a panel that will write the constitution.
“The Parliament is the only entity responsible for forming the Constituent Assembly through its elected members,” General Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the governing military council, told state newspaper al-Ahram.
Election day in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
The military rulers said Wednesday the next parliament would not be representative enough to independently oversee the drafting of a constitution, and that they would appoint a council to check the influence of religious extremists on the process.
The announcement followed a surprisingly strong showing by Islamist groups who took the overwhelming majority in the first round of parliamentary elections. The outcome caused concern among the liberals who drove Egypt's uprising and the military, which took power from ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Egypt's military ruler, swore in the new Egyptian cabinet on Wednesday, saying it would have more powers than its predecessor.
Tantawi promised to transfer some of the Military Council's executive powers to newly appointed Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri.
The Military Council's statement did not go into specifics as to what new powers the new government will have, but said that it would continue to control the judiciary and the armed forces.
The new government replaces an interim administration that resigned in the wake of deadly clashes between security and protesters last month.
Ganzouri, 78, served as prime minister under Mubarak from 1996 to 1999.
On Tuesday, Ganzouri promised he would "never use force to remove protesters" and pledged "to make security and revitalization of the national economy top priorities for his government."
Roee Nahmias and The Associated Press contributed to this report